National Geographic News
A military vehicle underwater in Lake Garda, Italy.

The wreck of a WWII U.S. military vehicle in Lake Garda, Italy, is seen in a recent video still.

Video still from Voluntary Association of Lake Garda via EPA

Sasha Ingber

National Geographic News

Published December 14, 2012

A World War II-era amphibious truck belonging to the U.S. military has been discovered in Lake Garda, Italy (map), according to an Italian group.

The Voluntary Association of Lake Garda released underwater footage of the rusted truck on December 10, after it was detected with sonar systems and a small, unmanned underwater craft used for deep-sea research. ProMare, a nonprofit team of marine archaeologists, was also involved in the search.

Nicknamed "ducks," such amphibious trucks drive across land or float in water. More than 20,000 were produced during World War II to transport goods and troops. They were also used in beach attacks to help the Allies win the war. (See pictures of World War II "samurai subs" found in 2009 near Pearl Harbor.)

On April 29, 1945, members of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division crossed the lake—Italy's largest—in a duck to overtake the villa of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who was operating the Italian Social Republic from Lake Garda's western shore.

But a violent storm sank the vehicle and took all but one of its servicemen down with it—leaving 24 missing.

The discovery of the rusted duck—which rests 600 feet (180 meters) below the surface of the lake—could lead to the recovery of these missing servicemen's remains and their possible return to the United States.

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